On Saturday night, Roman “Rocky” Martinez (26-1, 16 KO) will defend his WBO super featherweight title in Macao S.A.R., China, against Diego Magdaleno (23-0, 9 KO).
It isn't often that you see a world championship fight in China, but Macao is set to host this clash.
Martinez is coming off an entertaining split-decision draw against Juan Carlos Burgos. Many believe Burgos deserved the decision, including ESPN’s Dan Rafael, who scored the fight 116-112 for Burgos and says he deserves a rematch.
Though Martinez has always been a respected fighter, he has to redeem himself to a certain degree after the Burgos bout.
If it's redemption he seeks, it won't come against an easy opponent.
Magdaleno is undefeated and he knocked out Antonio Davis in the fourth round of his last fight in August 2012.
He was the reigning NABF super featherweight champion, a title he defended five times, but now he’s ready to move up the ladder.
Martinez's fights are almost always exciting, and here’s how you can catch this bout.
When: Saturday, April 6, at 2 p.m. ET
Where: Cotai Arena, Macao, Macao S.A.R., China
The Book on Martinez
Take Some to Give Some
Martinez’s style is to come straight forward. He isn’t much for defending and that makes him vulnerable to big punchers. He does, however, possess a very durable chin, good stamina, power and a big heart.
Though I’ve seen him rocked by the likes of Ricky Burns, putting him down is a task. Rocky has the skills to be more of a boxer/puncher, but he generally defaults to a brawling approach.
While that is pleasing to the eye, it makes him a bit more beatable than he should be. In his fight against Juan Carlos Burgos, this poor defense was exposed.
The Book on Magdaleno
Reminiscent of Hector Camacho
Magdaleno is a Mexican-American fighter, but he looks a bit like Puerto-Rican legend Hector Camacho. It's not just about the flapping trunks; Magdaleno has great hand speed and he throws punches at various angles.
I wouldn't put him in Camacho's class, though stylistically there are a few similarities. He stands flat-footed to throw a little more, but he's primarily a mover.
While Magdaleno hasn't shown much punching power, the speed and accuracy of his attack is the biggest reason he is undefeated.
That said, he is stepping up the level of competition by challenging Martinez. A win here would mean more than just a world title for him; it would also be a ticket to more notoriety and bigger purses.
Here is Magdaleno in action in his most recent fight, a fourth-round KO win over Davis.
Keys to Victory
How will this fight end?
Magdaleno will have the speed and agility advantage, but his biggest challenge will be maintaining his stamina. He has only gone 10 rounds in his career three times, and this is his first fight scheduled for 12.
Martinez is the type of fighter who is dangerous at all times, and if Magdaleno slows down amidst his pressure, the young Mexican fighter will have his chin tested.
He is a southpaw, but that hasn't been an issue for Martinez in the past. He has bested Daniel Attah and other southpaws over the last five years of his career.
If Magdaleno picks his spots to trade and conserves his energy, he can out-point Martinez. If he loses steam late, though, he will be vulnerable to a late stoppage.
Martinez's grit and determination will win out in this fight.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Magdaleno win, but my prediction is a 10th-round TKO for Martinez. Magdaleno doesn't have the punching power to slow Martinez, but I expect a competitive fight.
We will probably be adding Magdaleno's name to the list of fighters who Martinez should grant a rematch.
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